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US, Chinese Leaders to Discuss North Korea Nuclear Weapons - 2002-10-25

President Bush meets Chinese leader Jiang Zemin Friday to discuss North Korea's admission that it is has a nuclear weapons program. North Korea says it wants a "non-aggression pact" with Washington before resolving nuclear issues.

President Bush will welcome the Chinese leader to his Texas ranch Friday, where the men are expected to discuss the fight against terrorism and a U.S. call to disarm Iraq, as well as North Korea's admission that it now has a nuclear weapons program.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the United States wants to resolve the North Korean issue peacefully and is now engaged in what she called "intensive" consultations with both regional powers and the European Union. "We need to see what common strategies we can employ to try and get the North Koreans to live up to their international obligations, to recognize that they cannot, on the one hand, say that they want to reenter the international community, or enter the international community, I think they've actually never been a part of it, or that they actually want to enter the international community, its economic benefits, its trade benefits, and on the other hand, brandish an illegal nuclear weapons program that is in clear violation of international obligations that they undertook," she said.

Under a 1994 accord with the United States, North Korea was to have scrapped its nuclear weapons program in exchange for nuclear power plants and other aid.

After a two year break, the United States and North Korea resumed high-level security talks earlier this month. It was during those discussions that U.S. officials say North Korea admitted to its nuclear program when confronted by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry Friday said Pyongyang now wants a "non-aggression pact" with the United States that recognizes North Korea's sovereignty and says Washington will not hinder the country's economic development. Those conditions came in a statement carried by the official news agency, which also accused the United States of violating the 1994 accord.

President Bush will also discuss the issue with South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi this weekend at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Mexico.

White House officials say Friday's meeting with President Jiang will include talks on human rights and trade.

U.S. news reports say the leaders will also announce they are ready to resume military talks for the first time in more than 18-months.